Member Profile: Dorothea Hendriks

Dorothea-HendriksNAME: Dorothea Hendriks
TOASTMASTERS AWARD LEVEL: Two-time Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)
PROFESSION: Self-employed/ workshop trainer and presentation skills coach
TWITTER HANDLE: @speak_4success

Dorothea Hendriks has been a Toastmaster member for about 28 years. She calls herself a ‘lifer’. “This organization is more than just about public speaking” says Dorothea. “It has the cheapest and most effective self-development program on the planet”. It’s because of Toastmasters that Dorothea started her own business the Art of Speaking for Success and Presentation Skills Inc. helping professionals kick-start their day with the tools they need to impact others with what they want to say.

Why did you join Toastmasters?

My doctor made me do it, and I am forever thankful to the late Dr. Ferdie Chen. He told me in no uncertain terms ‘to join’, and then, pushed me kicking and screaming all the way. Dr. Ferdie Chen was a ‘living’ legend at the time and the first B.C. Toastmaster to receive a Presidential Citation. He told me that I needed to join Toastmasters to build up my confidence and feeling of self-worth. I joined, and have never looked back.

What is your most memorable Toastmasters experience?

Receiving a call from Toastmasters International letting me know that I was the recipient of the Presidential Citation was definitely memorable. I was so pumped with excitement and gratitude I could hardly stand it. Though I’ve received other accolades within the organization, this award was that extra ‘pat on the back’ and recognition from beyond my club and district for what I had done as a Toastmaster member.

Dorothea Hendriks collecting the Presidential Citation award

Dorothea Hendriks collecting the Presidential Citation award

(If you want to know why Dorothea was chosen for the Presidential Citation award in 2011, check out her list of Toastmaster accomplishments here!

Which of your skills have improved the most since joining?

As a Toastmaster, I put myself into leadership and team positions that I would never have assumed otherwise. While it may be difficult to believe, I am an introvert deep into my bones. Joining Toastmasters made me really stretch myself and forced me to step outside my comfort zone in a gigantic way. Understanding how to get along, work with and enjoy being with people has expanded and matured. So, I would say it’s been my people skills that have improved the most since joining.

What are your top 3 tips for giving a successful speech?

  1. Know your objective(s). What do you want people to ‘take away’/ or remember when you are finished?
  2. Know your audience. How does your content relate to them? Why should they care.
  3. Prepare and practice. Prepare: write out your speech and re-write it. Practice: say your speech out loud. Move it from inside your head out through your mouth. Hear yourself as your audience will hear you.

How has being in Toastmasters helped you achieve career-related goals?

I wouldn’t be a communication trainer and presentation skills coach if it wasn’t for Toastmasters. After winning the International Speech Contest, my Toastmasters network expanded. Speaking opportunities popped up. Friends encouraged me to jump in and make ‘speaking’ a career. But, I couldn’t see it. I had trouble organizing laundry, so organizing and running a business was out of the question. When my teaching job at VCC disappeared due to budget cuts, and outsizing, a fellow Toastmaster took me by the hand and said, “If, as a Toastmaster, you really believe it’s important to stretch your skills, do it. Don’t tell me. Show me. Get out there. Start your own business. So I did. Now, I travel the country helping professionals build better communication skills. This would have been absolutely impossible for me without Toastmasters and its incredible network of support.


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